Top Things To Consider When Converting A Basement To Living Space To Increase Value
There are a variety of ways to increase the value of your home, everything from painting, landscaping, and new windows, to renovating the kitchen or bathroom. But, one of the most cost effective ways is to convert a basement area into living space. This is because adding real square footage of living area adds up faster than any kind of cleaning or painting. There are some things that need to be considered before you start working on converting your basement, here are some tips you can use for basement conversion to increase the value of your home.
Do Your Research Before You Get Started
In every different state and municipality, there are certain rules and regulations that are required to call any area in your home livable or inhabitable by law. Of course, if you’re only going to use the space yourself, then you can decide however you please. But if you’re going to want to sell the property in the future, then you should take the time to get the facts first.
Call a few local realtors that have experience in what can be listed in the multiple listings as livable space in your area. This might be something that they don’t want to waste time on, so call several of them and get an average opinion. Then, call the local city or county office and get their facts as well. There may be certain things that are absolutely necessary, like ceiling height, fire escape, insulation from the cold, heating source, and electrical service. Make a list of everything that is brought up and try to find the regulations somewhere in writing on the internet. If you have limited ceiling height, are there exceptions for heating ducts that only occasionally limit the height?
And what will qualify as insulation, or wiring, or heating source? You have to start your basement conversion with all of the facts or otherwise you’ll get halfway done and realize it’s all for nothing, or you might have to start over from the beginning for something you’ve missed or left out. Things like insulating the walls and installing electrical wiring have to be done first before you apply sheet rock or you’ll end up ripping it all out and redoing it. If you have a problem with ceiling height, can you raise the heating ducts up into the spaces between floor joists and get an extra 8 inches? Proper planning is the only way to do it right.
Now That You Have A Workable Plan, How Does It Pencil Out?
Again, talk to a realtor to find out how much adding your basement conversion will increase the value of the home. Then figure out how much the labor and materials are going to cost you to see if the conversion will be worth the effort. Most of the time, any additional legally habitable space, is worth way more than the expenses, especially when it’s coming from space you already have available, like a basement.
You should also talk to the local building commission website or planning division to find out if you need a building permit and inspections along the way. In most parts of the country you’ll have to have everything inspected in steps, first the electrical, then the plumbing, then the heating, and then a final inspection. Failure to do so can get you fined, a stop work order, or even the requirement to tear it all out, so take heed of the local laws and follow them. Plus, in order to list the property for sale, the buyers may want to know that all of the work was done to up to code, by licensed basement conversion contractors, and inspected as well.
Once you have figured all of your expenses, and then added in the amount the new conversion will increase the value of your home, you might be presently surprised. Some websites will give you percentages, like a 20% to 25% increase in the total value of the home. A better way to figure it is by the square foot of added living space. That is much more accurate. In every neighborhood, there is an average value per square foot of legal living space. Take that figure and multiply it out by the square feet added to get the most accurate estimate.
Adding space onto your home is usually a good investment no matter where you add it. However, taking space that’s already enclosed, like a basement and converting it, is far more lucrative since it’s way less expensive to do. You’ll also gain the use of the space yourself until you sell the property and you may just decide to keep it because of the nice extra space you’ve added.